e00011449Get Zapped before you go shopping for electronics.

The 2010 holiday shopping season is off to a roaring start. But before you spend your hard-earned dollars on the latest GPS, iPad, Kindle, Play Station, Smart Phone, or X-Box, here are few facts you should know.

An invisible fog from electromagnetic fields (EMFs)—emitted by cell and cordless phones, high-definition TV, laptop computers, microwaves, satellites for GPS and radio/TV, and WiFi—already surrounds every American today. Even very weak EMFs—some thousands times smaller than initially estimated—can have serious physiological effects on the human body.

Numerous peer-reviewed studies show that this kind of electromagnetic pollution puts us at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer, rare brain tumors, immune system dysfunction, insomnia, heart irregularities, and neurodegenerative diseases like ALS, MS, and Parkinson’s.

As Martin Blank, PhD, associate professor of physiology and cellular biophysics at Columbia University, explains: “Cells in the body react to low-level EMFs and produce a biochemical stress response.”

The body responds to EMFs like an environmental pollutant. Cells go into a virtual lockdown mode. Nutriets can’t get in and toxins can’t get out. Even low-level electromagnetic fields can literally cause the body’s cells to come unglued—interfering with vital messages your cells send and receive.

“The scientific evidence tells us that our safety standards are inadequate,” adds Dr. Blank. “We should sit up and pay attention.”

Dr. Ann Louise’s Take:

Before you pile lots of electronics under the tree this year, make sure you are not being Zapped!

How risky is it to buy all the latest and greatest digital toys and upgrades this holiday season? That depends on a number of factors—including how much electropollution you’re already exposed to 24/7.

“Like many Americans, I am never too far from my BlackBerry,” wrote the Washington Post staffer who last week reviewed my latest book Zapped. She admits that it raised “significant questions about our constant exposure to electronic radiation that flows from the devices in our homes, workplaces, and public spaces—questions serious enough to make me change my behavior.” You might feel that way too!

This holiday season, give yourself—and anyone in your life who (literally) has everything—Zapped. It’s jam packed full of ways to prevent or reduce your exposure to this kind of electropollution.

The good news is that you don’t have to ditch all those digital and electrical devices—just decide which ones you really need, and then be smart in how you use them! As you’re doing your holiday shopping, consider safe alternatives or solutions for these products:

Baby monitors “release more RF [radiofrequency] than cell phones,” says David Carpenter, MD, director of the Institute for Health and Environment at the University of Albany. Since a University of Utah study shows that this kind of radiation can almost entirely penetrate a young child’s brain, “putting them next to a crib is very, very unwise,” he adds. If you must have a monitor for peace of mind, look for a used, older, wired model. And keep it at least six feet away from your baby.

Cell and smart phones list SAR (specific absorption rate), so look for those with the lowest ratings. Then keep your phone six inches away from your head, text whenever possible (though obviously never when driving), and turn it off whenever you’re not using it. As Sarah Dacre of ElectroSensitivity UK says, “If phone data can penetrate walls, ceilings, and floors, what must it be doing to our bodies?”

Cordless phones “are often as strong as cell phones,” says Cindy Sage, an environmental consultant who’s been studying radiation for 28 years. “The phone base is like a mini-cell tower. It radiates 24/7 and can have a range of up to 300 feet,” she adds. Instead of a DECT cordless phone, buy corded phones for your landline—with extra-long cords.

Electrical blankets produce fields of 5 mG or more, penetrating six to seven inches into the body. Their large AC electromagnetic fields have been linked to infertility, so you might want to invest in a down quilt instead. If you already have an electric blanket, warm up your bed before turning in for the night, and turn off and unplug your blanket before getting in bed (these blankets generate fields as long as they’re plugged in).

Wireless routers constantly emit high levels of RF (up to 200 feet out)—and that kind of exposure has been linked to cancer, particularly leukemia, Dr. Carpenter says. Buy an Ethernet cable instead—it’s often faster and more secure. If you must have a router, keep it as far away from people as possible, and turn it off at night and whenever you’re not using it.

Increasingly, I’m meeting and hearing about more and more people who are developing a sensitivity to electropollution. I’ve been able to substantially reduce my own exposure—and that of my family, friends, and clients—with what I’ve learned working on Zapped. You can too!

As one reviewer wrote, “In Zapped, leading health author Ann Louise Gittleman has masterfully tackled what may be the most important public health issue of our time, making the science on known biological effects from electromagnetic fields accessible to consumers. Read Zapped and preserve your own health from the ever-increasing ‘electrosmog’ in our midst.”

Zapped: Why Your Cell Phone Shouldn’t Be Your Alarm Clock and 1,268 Ways to Outsmart the Hazards of Electronic Pollution

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